For all the years I’ve spent trying to avoid the kitchen
During the few months after diagnosing Joaquin, I have resisted all the special diets and biomedical approaches collective wisdom recommends for autistic kids. The autism label seems to be attached to all kinds of conditions (low immune system, food allergies and intolerances, poor muscle tone, yeast overgrowth), and some people automatically assume that gastrointestinal problems must be affecting your child — even if he doesn’t show any symptoms — simply because of the fact of being autistic. Collective wisdom declares: If your child is autistic, then his gut is sick like that of all autistic children.
Joaquin does not show any apparent signs of gastrointestinal problems or a low immune system; this kid is super healthy and doesn’t show any of the symptoms usually mentioned to describe autistic bodies. However, the biomedical chatter is so loud in this dimension, I didn’t want to risk missing something important for my child perhaps because of an underlying fear of having to change his diet. So I decided to investigate and learn more about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), a very strict but nutritional diet that was developed to heal severe gastrointestinal conditions, but somehow has made an entrance to the autism scene with anecdotal reports of complete recovery via diet alone.
Now, I’m not looking here for a shortcut. I do not believe that diet alone is suddenly going to pull Joaquin out of autism. But I do believe that eating better food and eliminating refined sugar, processed foods, and artificial ingredients from his system could potentially help him take full advantage of our work with Son-Rise. As I learned more about SCD, its genesis, and how it works, the whole thing made a lot of sense to me, so I decided to give it a try just in case that my baby’s intestinal flora is in fact out of balance, and his body is not being able to assimilate nutrients he currently needs in order to develop.
SCD removes all carbohydrates except for those in fruit, vegetables, nuts, and honey. The idea is that when your intestinal flora is out of balance, bad bacteria feeds from complex carbohydrates your body is not able to process. Bacteria grows and makes it even harder for the body to assimilate the carbs, and a vicious cycle is created. So SCD attempts to kill the bad bacteria by cutting its food supply 100%. The carbs in allowed food are okay because they’re monosacharides easily absorbed by the body, but complex carbs and sugar are all forbidden. This means that you can’t trust package labels since almost everything on a package contains at least a tiny amount of starch or sugar not always included in the label. So this is a diet where you make a lot of stuff at home from scratch.
In the last few days, in addition to cooking every day for Joaquin’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I have baked cookies and breads, made chicken nuggets, fermented yogurt, dripped it to make cheese, blanched and roasted almonds, and I’ve been to Whole Foods and the nearby grocery store more times than I could ever imagine. I have to tell you, though… Nut flour is awesome, and goat milk is heavenly.